If you’re planning to take a trip to Newport anytime soon, or currently spend time in the city daily, you may find yourself surrounded by hundreds of new economists, as the Office for National Statistics (ONS) aim to make it an economic ‘hotspot’.
The ONS hope to employ 250 economists in Newport, almost quadrupling its workforce from the 70 individuals they currently employ, to support the development and work the agency are planning.
Former Bank of England policy maker, Martin Weale, will be joining the economic experts along with Jill Leyland, former vice president of the Royal Statistical Society (RSS).
The move to make Newport the new economic hub comes after the ONS faced scrutiny after relocating from London. In 2007, the Bank of England described the move as an “area of concern” and suggested it posed as a “serious risk”.
Sir Charles Bean, ex-deputy governor of the Bank of England previously told the ONS that it had to do some serious work if it were to make its economic capabilities more robust.
To improve the measurement of the economy, ONS announced a fund of up to £3 million to finance research and development activities between now and the end of 2017/18.
Jonathan Athow, ONS director general of economic statistics, said: “The advice from the highly these respected experts will be an invaluable addition to our economic capability.
“The Working Group is just one of the measures we are taking to bring about a step change in ONS’s capability and to drive forward its transformation into a world-leading national statistics institute.”
The RRS and the Royal Economic Society are working to identify which parts of the company need to be development on and areas that need priority focus.
ONS currently employs 778 staff at a site in Hampshire and a further 564 across the country.